Sustainable careers

Lewis Major receives Keith Bain Choreographic Travel Fellowship

At the 21st Australian Dance Awards (8 September 2018), Ausdance National awarded the Keith Bain Choreographic Travel Fellowship to Lewis Major. The fellowship provides financial assistance for an emerging choreographer to travel internationally with the sole purpose of developing and extending their choreographic practice.

Lewis has designed a program of mentorship and career development activities designed to build his professional networks and further develop skills in dramaturgy, choreography and independent producing in an international context. The program includes activities to strengthen his choreographic and broader artistic development and practice by facilitating face-to-face dialogue and creative output with international artistic collaborators.

Lewis will travel to Israel, Taiwan and Europe.

Lewis Major

Being raised in the rural heart of the Antipodes, there was a scarcity of art being made available to regional audiences as I was growing up. Hence, as an emerging artist, I am passionate about making dance accessible; strongly believing that intelligence in art and its relevance to audiences is fundamental in its power to enact change.

View recent choreography from Lewis Major on Vimeo.

Lewis Major in performance

Lewis Major is an award-winning choreographer, dancer and creative entrepreneur based in the deep south of regional South Australia. Not having set foot in a theatre until his mid-teens, he finds it ironic to now be working in the most maligned and misunderstood sector of the arts industry: contemporary dance.

He is the only dance artist he’s ever heard of who can both shear a sheep, has danced with Hugh Jackman and travelled to all three axis-of-evil countries. His work is invested in the potential of choreography and performance to inform a cultural discourse of sorts and to enable affective experiences.

As a performer and dance maker, he has worked with and alongside Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant, Shaun Parker, Hans van Den Broeck/Cie Soit and Australian Dance Theatre. He was a founding member of Aakash Odedra Company. With an extensive back catalogue of choreographies, he has created and staged his own work on six continents.

Alongside his choreographic work, Lewis is dedicated to mentoring and supporting young male dancers from regional and less privileged areas of Australia. He has the sole rights in South Australia to Shaun Parker’s outdoor work, TROLLEYS, and has toured it to regional areas in the South East of SA, with a secondee program running alongside for regionally based dancers. He has also initiated collaborations and an exchange program between dance students in Taiwan and South Australia. He is currently setting up a not-for-profit artist in residence creative hub and art hotel in Adelaide, with the profits being funneled back into supporting creative practice in state.

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Executive Director’s May update

Advocating for a sustainable and thriving dance sector was the theme of my first month as Ausdance National's Executive Director

We are currently representing the dance sector by contributing knowledge to three urgent issues that impact healthy growth in Australia’s creative economy:

  • Access to professional mental health support for those who work in the entertainment industry, because we can't tackle these issues in isolation. We need to support each other.
  • Access to education and training resources to prevent discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and bullying, because these impact our mental health and wellbeing. Together we can create healthy work environments free from these threats.
  • Sustainable access to international expertise that transfers skills to Australian organisations and creatives, because this will stimulate innovation.

Congratulations to all who took part in BIG DANCE this year. It was wonderful to be part of the handover at Cathedral square on Sunday 29 April and fantastic to meet Jacqueline Rose, and learn of the Big Dance legacy. 

Our AGM took place on Sunday the 13 May, at Ausdance NSW meeting room. The Annual Report is now available. 2017 was a big year of activity, advocacy and change.

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Have your say! Entertainment Industry Wellbeing Survey

Five Australian entertainment industry professionals attempt suicide every week. The time for change is now!

We need you, as an Australian entertainment industry professional, to share your thoughts surrounding the mental health needs of our industry people, how they should be supported and what are the most pressing issues.

There is still time to have your say. Your opinion matters.

Entertainment Assist, in association with Everymind, have launched an online survey as part of a research project for the mental health needs of our industry.

In less than 25 minutes, you can complete the survey and help guide the development of programs aimed at enhancing the mental health and wellbeing of Australian entertainment industry professionals.

Conducted on behalf of Entertainment Assist and the Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment, findings from the new Everymind study will inform the development and implementation of a Prevention First Framework for Mental Health in the Australian Entertainment Industry.

Please share far and wide. Mental health and wellbeing in our industry is our shared responsibility, and we are looking for perspectives from all industry sectors.

If your job is technical, creative, behind-the-scenes or in front of a microphone or camera, we want to hear from you!

Survey link: bit.ly/MHEntertainAUSDANCE

Your response will remain strictly confidential and any published results de-identified.

We have identified that our industry has significant mental health and wellbeing problems. It’s now time to work on a solution together.

www.entertainmentassist.org.au
FB: http://www.facebook.com/entertainmentassist
Twitter: @entertainassist  #haveheart

About the Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment

The Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment is an Entertainment Assist cross-sector peer-to-peer initiative, for shared interest in positive mental health and wellbeing behaviours for a sustainable Australian entertainment industry.

Why is Ausdance National supporting this research?

Ausdance National is a founding member of the Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment.

As a member, we strive to uphold the AAWE Statement of Values that highlight respect, integrity, empathy, courage and collaborative leadership. We aim to provide advocacy and practical support to the mental health and wellbeing of industry professionals.

‘AAWE officially launched on World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2017, and it is a very exciting network for dance to be involved with, given it is a world-first, cross-sector initiative for shared interest in positive mental health and wellbeing behaviours for a sustainable Australian entertainment industry.’ —Professor Gene Moyle, Ausdance National President

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Fatigue identified as major contributor to injury in Australia’s professional dancers

The Safe Dance Report IV: Investigating injuries in Australia’s professional dancers, published today on the Ausdance National website, examines the Australian context and occurrence of injury in professional dancers and makes recommendations to support sustainable, healthy, and productive dancing careers.

A collaboration between The University of Sydney and Ausdance National, Safe Dance IV is the fourth in a series of Safe Dance research projects. It continues the important work started by Ausdance National almost 30 years ago.

The survey of 195 Australian professional dancers found 97% experienced at least one significant injury in their dance career, compared with 89% in 1999. And 73% of dancers reported experiencing a dance-related injury in the past 12 months.

Author and lead researcher Amy Jo Vassallo, a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Health Sciences at The University of Sydney, said the consequences of these injuries can be quite substantial and include missed performance opportunities and income, ongoing pain and disability, and expensive treatment including surgery. Serious injuries can even lead to early retirement from dance careers and lifelong disability.

‘The proportion of dancers reporting fatigue as a contributing factor to their injury has increased from 26% in 1990 and 33% in 1999 to 48% in 2017’ she said.

‘However, compared with previous Safe Dance survey results, fewer dancers reported poor technique or environment as a contributor to their injury. This demonstrates the benefits of education, policies and interventions regarding safe dancing practice for dancers and teachers at all stages of a dance career, including early teaching and pre-professional training’.

Ausdance National President, Professor Gene Moyle, said the Safe Dance Report IV continues an important lineage for the Australian dance community. Hearing the words “safe dance practice” being so much a part of our language and approach within the dance sector today is a testament to the impact and contribution of the collective Safe Dance reports within our industry.

Recommendations have outlined that access to dance-educated or dance-specialised healthcare services is essential; addressing the cultural aspects of injury reporting is critical; and that a better acknowledgement of the psychological and psychosocial aspects of injury is required.

Key findings

Survey respondents’ employment as a dance performer was most commonly with a dance company (66%) or as an independent dance artist (38%).

Injuries remain common in professional dance, with 73% of professional dancers reporting experiencing an injury in the past 12 months. The most common site of injury was the ankle (26%), followed by the knee (11%) and hip (10%).

The most common injury type was a strain (25%), followed by chronic inflammation (19%) and a sprain (18%).

There was one accidental or traumatic injury for every two overuse or gradual injuries. The most common responses regarding the self-reported contributor to injury were fatigue (48%), followed by new or difficult choreography (39%) and ignoring early warning signs (31%).

Despite 62% of respondents reporting belief that there is still stigma associated with sustaining injuries as a professional dancer, 75% of dancers did say they would seek professional opinion if they suspected an injury. However, only 50% stated they would tell someone within their dance employment and 49% said they would also take their own preventative steps to manage their injury.

Despite seeing a clinician for treatment of their injury, 40% of dancers whose injury was currently unresolved were unsure if their injury would resolve in the foreseeable future. This indicates that many dancers need to be provided with improved and realistic expectations of their injury, capacity to dance during their injury and likely return to full dance ability.

For interview contact:

Amy Vassallo | PhD Candidate
Faculty of Health Sciences
The University of Sydney
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 02 9351 9010 and 02 9351 9108

Professor Gene Moyle ARAD MAPS MCSEP GAICD SFHEA
President
Ausdance National Council – Ausdance Inc.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +61 7 3138 3616

Download Safe Dance Report IV media release

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National Dance Forum 2017: Dance in the Digital Domain

MEDIA RELEASE (84Kb PDF)

Tuesday 22 August 2017
For immediate release

Australia’s peak dance organisation, Ausdance National, will host a two-day forum next month bringing together dance makers, producers and presenters for a highly topical forum focusing on the future of dance within the digital domain. The National Dance Forum is Australia’s key platform for dance artists, industry professionals and educators in providing rich opportunities to discuss, debate and collaborate with some of the most influential individuals and organisations in the country.

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First National Dance Forum 2017 speakers announced

We know the dance sector wants a chance to share, inspire, connect and to be inspired by the whole dance industry—that includes the broader ecology, from independents to majors. At NDF 2017 we'll hear inspiring talks from our National Dance Forum 2017 speakers.

Here are our first speakers for this year's forum.

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Arts education advocates question VET Student Loans methodology

The NAAE supports the review of the VET FEE-HELP rules, and understands the need to weed out those rorting the system and those private providers delivering sub-standard courses in line with Australian Quality Framework (AQF) that applies to all post-compulsory education. However, we have major concerns about the methodology used to identify courses that will no longer qualify for government assistance, and take this opportunity to provide information that may not have been available earlier. 

NAAE noted firstly that the department must take account of poorer SES students who may use VET courses as a gateway to university study. If reputable RTOs offering arts courses are eliminated, these opportunities will immediately disadvantage some students, particularly those from regional and remote schools where the arts have been a major factor in eliminating poor attendance records, and where career pathways in the arts are identified. 

NAAE also questioned why some previously eliminated providers are already back on the list, and yet the larger reputable TAFEs and arts training institutions are not. NAAE would like to know what criteria were used to make these decisions.

In response to a question about whether there was another sector like the Arts, NAAE noted that the arts industry was unique in the ways in which it trained and employed artists.

Recommendations about the methodology used to define eligible courses

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National forum to explore dance practice in the digital age

MEDIA RELEASE (90Kb PDF)

16 May 2017

The 2017 National Dance Forum will bring together makers, producers and presenters to discuss and share knowledge on current digital practices and technological developments. The two-day forum will focus on strengthening the dance sector’s capacity within the digital domain.

Led by the dance sector’s advocate for 40 years—Ausdance National—the fourth National Dance Forum (NDF2017) will take place at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, 25–26 September 2017 and will follow the Australian Dance Awards (Arts Centre Melbourne, 24 September 2017).

Dance artists, companies, presenters and researchers looking for ways to grow meaningful audience relationships and understand the issues around making art in a digital environment, need to attend.

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Ausdance advocacy report

Ausdance National's dance sector advocacy update ​Ausdance National's new interim National Executive has formally appointed Ausdance National (volunteer) representatives to attend and speak for Ausdance at the following organisations and forums: ArtsPeak, National Advocates for Arts Education, World Dance Alliance and Tertiary Dance Council of Australia.

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ArtsPeak update

Ongoing work

As well as recovering from the ArtsPeak National Arts Election Debate six months ago, there has been ongoing work: following up with the Australia Council on the Service Organisations Scan (complete, to be released by the Australia Council in the first quarter of 2017); advocating for the arts courses that will be affected by the VET student loans proposal (ongoing); and continuing to voice the sector’s concerns about the impact of the 2015 budget changes. The Executive has also played a part in Arts Front, and is currently monitoring (with great interest) the new initiative for a Myer, Tim Fairfax Family and Keir Foundations cultural think tank.

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LEAP Together Conference report

Toronto, Canada, 11–12 Nov 2016

LEAP Together: Career and Life Transitions in Dance and Sport was one of the key initiatives of a pioneering partnership between Dancer Transition Resource Centre (DTRC) and Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO), and is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. 

The conference included a wide diversity of stakeholders from the sport and dance sectors to learn and exchange knowledge on various topics related to transition for high performers – professional dancers and elite athletes.

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Inquiry into innovation and creativity: workforce for the new economy

The Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training invites you to make a submission to the inquiry into Innovation and Creativity: Workforce for the New Economy 

'On Wednesday 9 November 2016 the Committee adopted an inquiry referred by the Minister for Employment, Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, asking the Committee to inquire into and report on matters that ensure Australia’s tertiary system—including universities and public and private providers of vocational education and training—can meet the needs of a future labour force focused on innovation and creativity.'

Make your submission by addressing the terms of reference by 13 January 2017.

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VET funding cuts—impact on professional dance training

VET funding cuts—impact on professional dance training—media release (246 KB PDF)

Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Minister for Education and Training
PC Box 6100, Senate
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister,

Ausdance is deeply concerned about your decision to include some of Australia's leading professional dance training courses in the crackdown on courses eligible for VET student loans.

We are particularly concerned about the statement that these professional dance training courses are being subsidised because they are 'used simply to boost enrolments, or provide 'lifestyle' choices, but don't lead to work'.

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ArtsPeak Arts Sector Update #1 2016—an invitation to sector meetings and the Election Debate

Arts Sector update. ArtsPeak—April 2016

Welcome! ArtsPeak is producing a series of National Arts Sector Updates in the lead-up to the Federal election in July.  This work picks up on last year's Free the Arts updates and is being delivered as part of our partnership with Feral Arts. A National Election Strategy Group is coordinating the work. Membership is open to anyone. If you would like to get involved email [email protected]

Please share this update in your networks and with your members.

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New low as Government pumps Catalyst funds out the door in blatant pre-election pork barreling

ArtsPeak Media Release (45 KB PDF)
9 May 2016

The arts sector is reeling today at news that an extraordinary $13m in Catalyst funds were secretly pushed out the door over the weekend just in advance of the election being called and caretaker mode beginning.

In total $23,317,301 has now been spent – nearly half the $48m allocated for the next 4 years of Catalyst operations. When Senate Estimates sat last Thursday evening the committee were only made aware of the $10m of grants announced by Arts Minister Mitch Fifield last week.

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New study investigating injuries in Australia’s professional dancers

Safe Dance IV: Investigating injuries in Australia's professional dancers

Ausdance National has joined with the University of Sydney to conduct a research study about the different types of injuries in company and independent professional dancers across Australia, their contributing risk factors, access to health services and return to dance practices. 

We are looking for professional dancers to participate in this research. For more information about the study, or to be involved, please visit Safe Dance IV—Investigating injuries in Australia's professional dancers.

Please help us in spreading the word about this study by forwarding this notice to any dancers you think may be interested in participating. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Amy Vassallo, a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney.

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